Hundreds of our City of Santa Cruz staff continue to provide essential services as authorized under the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders. Every department is working while some services are more visible across the community than others.
Fire Chief Jason Hajduk quickly implemented protocols to continue unwavering immediate response to community needs, as well as to ensure the safety of our fire, police, emergency medical first responders, utilities staff and other City personnel maintaining essential services. These safety protocols include expanded 911 dispatcher procedures, ensuring the proper use and adequate supplies of personal protective gear, and increased cleaning at City facilities.
Water Department employees continue to ensure that the everyday work of collecting, treating, testing and distributing water is done to the highest of standards—our water supply remains safe and reliable. The customer service team continues to work remotely. If you are concerned about how to pay your water bill, their help is available by completing this hardship form.
Wastewater treatment crews continue to work around the clock in processing 7 million gallons of wastewater each day. Maintenance staff recently repaired the drive shaft on a pump that was rotating backwards. Collections crews have been clearing clogs from an increase of so-called “flushable” wipes found in the City sewer system. Even if the label says “flushable” or “biodegradable,” wipes cause sewer clogs and should never be flushed down the toilet; they belong in the trash.
Our sanitation division has increased trash collection and street sweeping to help limit contamination during the outbreak. You can place an extra bag of trash on top of, or next to, your garbage bin for pick up at no extra cost through the month of April. Customer service staff can help if you need to temporarily increase your level of collection service—call (831) 420-5220. Up at Dimeo Lane, the Resource Recovery Facility team continues to process recycling.
In addition to regular work such as painting curbs, filling potholes and installing road signage, our Streets crews have been addressing needs related to our homeless population. This has included setting up the triage area at Parking Lot 17 with tent platforms, and delivering portable toilets and wash stations to locations around town. The Parking Services team cleans the exteriors of these portable stations as well as parking garage restrooms. Parking staff also continue to clean downtown sidewalks and alleys.
Our Public Works engineers are supervising construction of four “Essential Infrastructure” projects. The River Street and Water Street Overlay Project is rehabilitating roadways. The Curb Ramps Enhancement Project is increasing curb accessibility on River, Water and Ocean streets. Coastal Rail Trail Segment 7, Phase I is constructing a paved multi-use trail from Bay Street/California Street to Natural Bridges Drive. And the Safe Routes to School Crossing improvements Project is improving 21 street locations adjacent to eight Santa Cruz City School campuses.
Our Parks and Rec employees continue to maintain over 1,300 acres of City greenbelt, more than 40 parks and beaches and the Santa Cruz Wharf. Their recreation instructors continue to teach the community through the Virtual Recreation resource web page. This page connects to the many online services that our Santa Cruz Public Library staff are now managing remotely.
Recently, Police Chief Andy Mills spoke to the community regarding all that our Santa Cruz Police Department officers are doing to keep the community safe.
Planning Department employees are working remotely to process planning applications. They are providing only “essential” construction inspections. Economic Development coordinators are addressing the needs of our business community given the devastating impacts of the shelter-in-place orders.
Behind the scenes, Human Resources and Finance personnel continue to process the usual paperwork, bills and payments. On top of this, they are addressing and processing all that is related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Through video conferencing, City Manager staff oversee the entire scope of City work plus all communications. Be sure to sign up for the City Manager’s e-news updates to receive regular messages on the City’s response to COVID-19.
We are proud of our essential City workers—their skills, commitment to public service and perseverance while coping with the difficult and ever-changing circumstances caused by the current pandemic.
Up-to-date information on the City’s operations and response to COVID-19 can be found at cityofsantacruz.com/coronavirus.